•Igyorov ward exco insists signatures to suspension order forged
•PDP nominates Saraki, others into ad hoc c’ttee to conduct guber primary for Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa
•Ex-chairman’s reign has ended in our party, Wike declares
•He was behaving like a headmaster, George recalls
•Nnamani says he was an evil that befell the opposition
•Ihedioha withdraws from Imo governorship race
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
In what could easily pass for medicine after a political death, the embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, yesterday, was compelled by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), to step aside in deference to a restraining order by the Benue High Court on Monday.
To this end, the deputy national chairman of the party, Ambassador Illya Damagum, has taken over in acting capacity pending the outcome of the case of anti-party suit against Ayu.
This notwithstanding, Ayu’s kinsmen from Igyorov ward and Gboko Local Government of Benue State, at a press conference, where they exonerated Ayu of any wrong doing, insisted those that signed the suspension letter against Ayu had their signatures forged and subsequently kidnapped.
Moving on, the NWC of the party, has immediately approved the nomination of some party stakeholders to serve on the ward congresses electoral committee to conduct party primary congresses in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
This is as the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has advised Ayu to come to terms with the reality that his reign in the party has come to an abrupt end.
At the same time, a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George, has accused Ayu of behaving like a headmaster and treating the affairs of the party as a private entity.
Similarly, the Enugu East Senator and former Governor of the state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, has also asked Ayu to vacate office as PDP national chairman forthwith, saying, “his deception and abysmal performance is unmitigated” and as such, an evil that befell the party.
Meanwhile, a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, has written to the party to announce his withdrawal from the governorship election, stating that he withdrew to allow for a consensus candidate to emerge.
However, PDP’s acting national chairman, Damagum, has immediately summoned a meeting of NWC for today, Wednesday to review some of the controversial decisions responsible forthe latest development in the party.
In a brief acceptance speech, he said the NWC would review some the issues in the party.
Addressing a press conference to the herald a change of leadership, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Debo Ologunagba, in a text titled: “PDP NWC Appoints Amb. Damagum as Acting National Chairman,” said, “The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at an emergency meeting today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023 acknowledged the order of the Benue State High Court, dated March 27, 2023 with regards to the chairmanship position of our great Party.
“After a careful consideration of the Court Order and in line with Section 45 (2) of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017), the NWC resolved that the Deputy National Chairman (North), His Excellency, Amb. Umar Ililya Damagum, assumes the National Chairmanship of our party in acting capacity with effect from today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders, teeming members and supporters of our great Party to remain calm and united at this critical time,” the PDP spokesman stated..
The NWC members at the press briefing included the national legal adviser, Kamarundeen Adeuyemi Ajinade (SAN); National Organising Secretary, Capt. Umar Nature; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; National Treasurer, Ahmed Yayari Mohammed; the National Youth leader, Suleiman and the National Financial Secretory, Daniel Woyegikuro, among others.
Speaking to journalists later, Damagum, said, “We have a court order and we are law-abiding party. I will be here in acting capacity pending the determination of the case. I will immediately have a meeting with NWC and I will brief you later. There is a court order.”
On why Ayu was at the party Secretariat, he said, “He has every right to come and pick his personal belongings,” adding that the NWC of the would meet today to consider issues of last week for a possible review.
Igyorov Ward Exco Insists Signatures Suspending Ayu Forged
Iyorchia Ayu’s kinsmen from Igyorov ward and Gboko local government of Benue State, yesterday, at a press conferences absolved him of any wrong doing and insisted those that signed the suspension letter had their signatures forged and were also kidnapped.
They explained that as at press time, that the whereabouts of the ward chairman and secretary was not known, while their telephone numbers were switched off.
Factional leader of the Igyorov ward, Stephe Shina Hile, said, “We the undersigned PDP Ward Executive Committee Members of Igyorov Council Ward have categorically disclaimed and disassociated ourselves from the purported letter of vote of No confidence and suspension of Senator Dr. Iyorchial Ayu as a member of PDP in Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State dated the 24th day of March, 2023 Circulating on the Channel Station, Arise News, other Media Stations/Channels, Newspapers and Social Media Generally.
“The executive committee has never discussed in any of our meetings prior to election or post-2023 general election about the conduct of the National Chairman. Chapter 10 section 57 of the party’s Constitution 2017 as amended.
“The Executive Committee Members have stated clearly that they have no knowledge about the letter and have not authorised anybody whatsoever to generate such mischievous letter on behalf of the Executive Committee.
“The purported signatures on the letter are forged and no member of PDP Executive Committee of Igyorov Council Ward has signed that letter or caused to be signed on his or her behalf. The names of the Executive Committee Members are wrongly written and spelled which showed the desperation of the mischief makers.
“The content of the purported letter itself is contradictory on the holding of the presidential and National Assembly Elections on the 25th March, 2023 while the letter itself is dated 24th, March, 2023. The letter was written before the purported Commission of the offence, which shows clearly that it is the handiwork of the mischief makers.
“Igyorov PDP Ward Executive Committee hereby pass vote of full confidence on Senator Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and we also pledge our full support for his pragmatic leadership style (as the National Chairman of the Party),” he stated.
Saraki, Others in Ad Hoc C’ttee for Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa Guber Primary
The PDP NWC, has approved the nomination of some prominent party stakeholders to serve on the ward congresses electoral committee to conduct party primary congresses in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
A statement by the National Organising Secretary of PDP, Hon. Umar M. Bature, stated that a former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki would head the committee for Bayelsa State with Barrister Katung Sunday, Danjuma Danladi, Ms Mammy Balami as members and Gabriel Onyewife as Secretary.
For Kogi State, Senator Abdul Ningi would serve as chairman, while Franc Fageh Utoo, Abubakar Garba, and Aisha Ibrahim Madinat would serve as members, while Hon. Warman Ogoriba would serve as Secretary
However, Henry Terebe would serve as chairman for Imo State, while Charity Echor , Danjuma Adamu Sankor, Eugene Maeba would serve as members and Dr. Major Itimowei her Secretary.
Wike, George, Nnamani Condemn Ayu’s Leadership Style
River State Governor Nyesom Wike, a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George and Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, have condemned Ayu’s leadership style, describing his temporary ouster as healthy for the party.
Wike, who faulted Ayu’s claim that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party could suspend him, advised the embattled national chairman to come to terms with the reality that his reign in the party has come to an end.
Speaking during the inauguration of the phase one of the Trans-Kalabari Road, performed by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, he claimed that Ayu could not reap from a party, by presiding over its affairs, where he has not sown, securing any electoral victory for it.
“Ayu said nobody can suspend him but today, he has packed out from the national office. We have an acting chairman. I told him he will go whether you like it or not, he will go.
“Those lawyers telling you that the ward has no power to suspend you, that it’s only National Executive Council (NEC), then, you don’t understand what is happening. When you came, it was the ward that suspended (Uche Secondus, and you went and took office, is it not?”
“So, is it now that you know that it is only NEC that can suspend you? Let me tell you, since they’ve not told you, the court has struck off that section of our constitution that says it’s only NEC can suspend (chairman). PDP did not even appeal the judgement.
“So, forget it, you are gone. You are wasting your time. We are ready for the battle. I am not from Benue, but I have interest and that interest is that Ayu must go.”
Also, speaking on Arise news television, George accused Ayu of behaving like a headmaster and treating the affairs of the party as a private entity
According to him, Ayu or the PDP NWC had no right to suspend NEC members like former governors, former Senate president and others as it did, insisting that it is the duty of NEC to do so.
He explained that the crisis sparked off when the NWC-led by Ayu started suspending NEC members, explaining that action and reaction were equal and opposite. He further said it was the Ayu-led NWC that caused the crisis by suspending former Senate president, Pius Anyim, former governor of Katsina, Ibrahim Shema and former governor Ayo Fayose.
On whether, he would leave Nigeria as he stated or attend the inauguration of Tinubu as president-elect, George said, “I won’t leave town because the game is not over. If the court affirms Tinubu as president-elect, I won’t attend his inauguration, he isn’t my party’s candidate. I intend to quit partisan politics, relocate to a peaceful town soon.”
Nnamani, on his part, has asked Ayu to vacate his office, saying his leadership has brought misfortune to the PDP because of his ineptitude, greed and wickedness.
“Ayu is just an unmitigated disaster. His leadership is an evil that befell the PDP. The only option left is to show him the exit door. How can Ayu be relying on the PDP constitution section 57 (7) to seek refuge when he had flagrantly subverted the same section to sack key stakeholders of the party including me?”
According to him, Section 57(7) of the PDP constitution stipulates that, “Notwithstanding any other provision relating to discipline, no executive committee at any level, except the National Executive Committee (NEC), shall entertain any question of discipline as may relate or concern a member of the National Executive Committee, Deputy Governors or members of the National Assembly.”
He recalled that the Ayu-led NWC relied on the aforementioned section to expel him when it obviously lacked the power to do so, pointing out that Ayu’s case was akin to the evil that men do lives with them.
“Ayu lacks the moral right to stay a day longer in office as National Chairman. If he still has any modicum of honour, he should quit immediately. Look at the shame he has brought on the PDP. Look at the array of key stakeholders Ayu has sacked or forced to leave the party. Except Ayu is a man without shame or honour, he has no business remaining in office,” he said.
Aniagwu: Ayu’s Suspension Illegal, Wike, Ortom Behind Action
Spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Charles Aniagwu, has describedAyu’s suspension as illegal and not in conformity with the party’s constitution.
Speaking on “Kakaaki” on AIT, yesterday, Aniagwu said those who attempted to suspend the National Chairman in Benue State were ignorant of the provisions of the party’s constitution as amended in 2017.
He accused Wike and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom of being behind the suspension in what he claimed looked like the Adams Oshiomhole kind of treatment.
He argued that the APC constitution was different from that of the PDP, adding that no organ of the party aside the NEC could suspend a member of National Working Committee.
According to him, Section 57(7) of the PDP Constitution was very clear on who has the power to suspend or discipline a member of the National Working Committee or National Executive Committee of the party.
“When they proceeded to ask the Ward of the National Chairman to take disciplinary action against him assuming that they have the power they ought to have given him fair hearing by summoning him to give him the opportunity to defend himself but the Section 57 didn’t give them the power to carry out such action against a member of NWC.
“So if anyone is proceeding to court with such illegal suspension is just making unnecessary troubles for the party,” he said, adding the exparte order from the court restraining Ayu from carrying out his duties as National Chairman was most unfortunate as the basis for granting the said order was faulty.
Ihedioha Withdraws from Imo Governorship Race
A former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, has written to the party to announce his withdrawal from the governorship election, stating that he was withdrawing to allow for a consensus candidate to emerge
In the letter personally signed, Ihedioha said, “having turned 58 years last Friday, March 24, I had cause to reflect on many things, including the state of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
“Having been a member since formation in 1998, I align myself with the request made at our state chapter the the National Working Committee (MWC) for a consensus choice of candidate regarding the 2023 governorship primaries. In the interest of harmony and unity of the Party, I have elected to make the personal sacrifice of withdrawing from further participation in the processes leading to the emergence of the gubernatorial candidate.
“This decision was not taken lightly. My commitment to the service of our people has never been in doubt. And I am sure many of those who have, on their own, aiready started mobilising for me in Imo State will be disappointed. I sincerely seek their understanding and that of secret
admirers and particularly, the electorate, who have over the years aligned themselves and identified with my political aspirations. “I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have served my various constituencies both as a legislator and governor. I am also proud of the positive impact I made, particularly, in the seven months I served as the Governor of Imo State,” Ihedioha said in the letter to the NWC of PDP.
With his withdrawal from the governorship race, the National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, may however emerge the consensus governorship candidate as only him and Ihedioha obtained the gubernatorial form and were recently screened.